Genetics

Genetics: timeline of key events

Lamarck was a French biologist who proposed that physical traits were inherited through generations by two forces. The first force was alchemical and second was environmental. He first outlined his theory of evolution in a lecture in 1802. While discredited for many years, Lamark's theory that organisms can acquire physical traits from their environment and pass these on to their offspring has resurfaced with the rise of epigenetics, a science that seeks to understand how chemical modifications to genes and proteins made in one generation are passed on to the next one.1744-10-01T00:00:00+0000Schleiden was a botanist. Based on his study of plant structures under the microscope he helped develop the theory that cells are the basic structure in all organisms and the basic unit of reproduction. He also connected the cell nucleus with cell division and suggested that all embryonic plant cells arose from one cell. 1804-04-05T00:00:00+0000Galton is best known for having ignited the debate about 'Nature versus Nature' in 1869 and coined the term 'Eugenics' in 1883. Inspired by his cousin Charles Darwin's work, he developed a programme of research to understand human variation, looking at their differences in mental capabilities and height to facial characteristics and fingerprint patterns. He pioneered the use of statistical methods to determine human differences and how intelligence and physical trains are passed down through families. 1822-02-16T00:00:00+0000Mendel is today considered the father of modern genetics. An Augustinian monk, Mendel helped establish the basic laws of genetic inheritance by studying the traits between different pea plant generations. Mendel conducted this research between 1853 and 1863. Based on experiments with tens of thousands of different plants, Mendel established that peas followed certain patterns in terms of the traits they inherited. He published his results in 1866, but he did little to promote his work. The importance of his work was only grasped many decades later after his death. 1822-07-20T00:00:00+0000Lamarck was a French biologist who proposed that physical traits were inherited through generations by two forces. The first force was alchemical and second was environmental. He first outlined his theory of evolution in a lecture in 1802. While discredited for many years, Lamark's theory that organisms can acquire physical traits from their environment and pass these on to their offspring has resurfaced with the rise of epigenetics, a science that seeks to understand how chemical modifications to genes and proteins made in one generation are passed on to the next one. 1829-12-18T00:00:00+0000von Nageli identified string-like bodies in cell nucleus. He did not know they played role in heredity. 1842-01-01T00:00:00+0000Flemming was a biologist who is credited with the foundation of cytogenetics. He was the first to describe the behaviour of chromosomes during cell division, a process he called mitosis. This he discovered through investigations of the fins and gills of salamanders. He first published his findings in 1878. In addition to his pioneering scientific work, Flemming is famous for his social activism. Notably he fed the homeless on a weekly basis and donated 20% of his salary to homeless shelters. He also taught mathematics and science to children too poor to attend school. 1843-04-21T00:00:00+0000van Beneden was a cytologist and embryologist. He worked out how chromosomes divide during cell meiosis. Based on studies of an intestinal worm found in horses, he also showed that fertilisation involves the union of two half-nuclei, one form the male sperm cell and one from the female egg, each containing half the the number of chromosomes found in all cells. He later demonstrated that the chromosome number is constant for every body cell in each species. 1846-03-05T00:00:00+0000Hertwig was a biologist who determined that fertilisation starts when the nuclei of sperm and ovum cells fuse. This he proved in 1876 through experiments with sea urchins. Eight years later he demonstrated, through investigations of frog eggs, that the cell divides along its long axis. He was also prescient in predicting, in 1885, that the nucleic acid is the substance responsible for fertilisation and the transmission of hereditary traits. This phenomenon was proven in 1944. 1849-04-21T00:00:00+0000Kossel was a German biochemist who was a key pioneer in the field of genetics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1910 for having isolated and described the five organic compounds present in nucleic acid. The compounds he isolated were adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil. These are key to the formation of DNA and RNA. Kossel's work also laid the foundation for determining the composition of protein and its polypetides. 1853-09-16T00:00:00+0000Stevens was an American biologist who was one of the first scientists to describe the importance of the Y chromosome for determining the sex of some species, and to recognise that females have two X chromosomes. The later she determined after noting male beetles produced two kinds of sperm: each with different sized chromosomes. In 1905 she was awarded $1000 for the best scientific paper written by a women. Five years later she was listed as one of America's leading 1000 scientists by The New York Times.1861-07-07T00:00:00+0000Herrick was a physician and cardiologist who reported the first case of sickle-shaped red blood cells in 1910. These he found in the blood of a medical student from Grenada suffering from anaemia. Clinicians subsequently found that the condition, called sickle-cell anaemia, was inherited and was most common in black patients. Sickle-cell anemia was the first disease found to have a genetic cause. Herrick later also observed the first clinical features of coronary thrombosis. 1861-08-11T00:00:00+0000Oscar Hertwig, Albrecht von Kolliker, Eduard Strasburger, and August Weismann independently show the cell's nucleus contains the basis for inheritance.1864-01-01T00:00:00+0000Conducting experiments breeding peas, Gregor Mendel, Austrian scientist, demonstrates that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns. This lays the foundation for what was to become known as the laws of Mendelian inheritance. Athough Mendel's theory was not recognised until the early 20th century, Mendel's work established the general principles for modern genetics. 1865-01-01T00:00:00+0000Ernst Haeckel, German biologist and philosopher, proposes the cell nucleus contains factors responsible for the transmission of hereditary traits.1866-01-01T00:00:00+0000Morgan is considered the father of the modern science of genetics. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933 for demonstrating how genes carried on chromosomes are the mechanical basis of hereditary. This he determined based on some cross-breeding experiments with the fruit fly (Drosophila) that he conducted between 1908 and 1911. 1866-09-25T00:00:00+0000McClung was a zoologist. He is best known for identifying the role of chromosomes in determining the sex of a species. This he did through a series of experiments with insects between 1901 and 1902. Based on his findings he hypothesised that the accessory chromosome (now known as chromosome X) could be the nuclear element that determined sex. It was the first time a scientist suggested that a given chromosome carried a set of hereditary traits. 1870-04-05T00:00:00+0000Galton publishes the term in his book 'Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development'. 1883-01-01T00:00:00+0000Mendel is today considered the father of modern genetics. An Augustinian monk, Mendel helped establish the basic laws of genetic inheritance by studying the traits between different pea plant generations. Mendel conducted this research between 1853 and 1863. Based on experiments with tens of thousands of different plants, Mendel established that peas followed certain patterns in terms of the traits they inherited. He published his results in 1866, but he did little to promote his work. The importance of his work was only grasped many decades later after his death. 1884-01-06T00:00:00+0000Richard Altmann, German pathologist, renames nuclein as nucleic acid.1889-01-01T00:00:00+0000Muller was a geneticist. He is best known for his experiments that demonstrated that X-rays could change the genetic make-up fruit-flies and the mutations be passed on to subsequent generations. Published in 1927 this work attracted widespread attention it marked the first time the genetics of a species was intentionally altered. Muller's work opened up new understanding of how mutations are caused and heralded a revolution in genetics research. He was awarded he 1946 Nobel Prize for 'the discovery of the production of mutations by means of X-ray irradiation'.1890-12-21T00:00:00+0000William G Ruppel discovered the nucleotide while trying to isolate the bacterial toxin responsible for tuberculosis. 1898-01-01T00:00:00+0000Lysenko was a Russian biologist who rejected the principles of Mendelian genetics and embraced the ideas of Jean-Baptiste Lamark who promoted the idea that an organism could pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring. Much of his work was directed towards trying to convert wheat crops to grow in different seasons. Stalin appointed Lysenko director of the Institute of Genetics in 1940, a position he retained until 1965. His rejection of orthodox genetics set Soviet agriculture and biology back by many decades. 1898-09-29T00:00:00+0000Pauling was a chemist and biochemist who helped pioneer quantum chemistry and mechanics. He combined methods from x-ray crystallography, molecular model building and quantum chemistry. Pauling was the first to find the alpha helix structure of proteins. In 1954 he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his 'research on the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex structures.' He also co-authored the first paper to suggest sickle-cell anaemia was a genetic disease, which introduced the concept of 'molecular disease'. Pauling was the only person to have received two Nobel Prizes. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, which was given for opposition to nuclear weapons.1901-02-28T00:00:00+0000Theodor Boveri, German biologist, and Walter Sutton, American geneticist and physician, independently develop the theory that chromosomes carry genetic material.1902-01-01T00:00:00+0000Archibald Garrod, an English physician, suggests that genetic defects cause the loss of enzymes and hereditary metabolic diseases, providing the first premise for gene therapy. 1902-01-01T00:00:00+0000McClintock was a pioneer in the field of cytogenetics, a branch of genetics concerned with how chromosomes affect cell behaviour. Based on her investigation of how chromosomes change in reproductiuon in maize she demonstrated in the late 1920s that genes can shift to different locations by themselves. In the 1940s and 1950s she showed that genes are responsible for turning physical characteristics on and off, a process called transposition. Initially scientists were sceptical of her findings so she stopped publishing her date in 1953. By the 1960s and 1970s attitudes towards her work changed as more scientists made similar findings. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her work.1902-06-16T00:00:00+0000Beadle, a geneticist, was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1958 for discovering the role of genes in regulating biochemical events within cells. He made the discovery in collaboration with Edward Tatum while conducting experiments that exposed Neurospora crassa, a the bread mould, to x-rays to cause mutations. They found that the mutations caused changes in specific enzymes that were involved in metabolic pathways. The work was done at Stanford University.1903-10-22T00:00:00+0000Snell was a major founder of immunogenetics as a discipline. He is best known for helping to identify the major histocompatibility complex, a group of genes that code for proteins found on the surface of cells that help the immune system differentiate between self and nonself cells, and demonstrating its role in tissue graft rejection. This work laid the foundation for carrying out successful transplants in both animals and humans. Snell shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions'.1903-12-19T00:00:00+0000Flemming was a German biologist who is credited with the foundation of cytogenetics. He was the first to describe the behaviour of chromosomes during cell division, a process he called mitosis. This he discovered through investigations of the fins and gills of salamanders. He first published his findings in 1878. In addition to his pioneering scientific work, Flemming is famous for his social activism. Notably he fed the homeless on a weekly basis and donated 20% of his salary to homeless shelters. He also taught mathematics and science to children too poor to attend school. 1905-08-04T00:00:00+0000Ochoa was a biochemist and molecular biologist whose research was devoted to understanding enzymes and their role in intermediary metabolism. He was one of the first scientists to show the pivotal role of high energy phosphates, like adenosine triphosphate, in the storage and release of energy. During this work he discovered the enzyme polynucleotide phosphorylase, which plays an important role in the synthesis of ribonucleic acid (RNA). This enzyme provided the foundation for the subsequent synthesis of artificial RNA and the breaking of the human genetic code. Ochoa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1959 for his work on the biological synthesis of RNA.1905-09-24T00:00:00+0000A German biophysicist, Delbruck helped discover how viruses replicate their genetic structure, showing that bacterial resistance from viruses is due to random mutation and not the result of adaptive changes. In 1969 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the back of this work. 1906-09-04T00:00:00+0000Hershey was a bacteriologist and geneticist. He is best known for a series of experiments with bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, that helped confirm that DNA, rather than proteins, carried genetic material. These he performed with Martha Chase in 1952. Hershey shared the 1969 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses.' 1908-12-04T00:00:00+0000Tatum was a biochemist who shared the 1958 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering how genes regulate biochemical events in cells. This was based on some experiments he carried out with colleagues at Stanford University in 1941 which involved crossing normal strains of the pink bread mould, Neurospora crassa, with another strain of the mould they had exposed to X-rays to induce genetic mutations. The offspring were found to inherit the mutation which manifested itself as metabolic defect. This led them to conclude that there was a direct link between genes and enzymatic reactions. 1909-12-14T00:00:00+0000Thomas Hunt Morgan, American evolutionary biologist, links the inheritance of a specific trait with a particular chromosome in fruit flies (Drosophila). 1910-01-01T00:00:00+0000van Beneden was a Belgian cytologist and embryologist. He worked out how chromosomes divide during cell meiosis. Based on studies of an intestinal worm found in horses, he also showed that fertilisation involves the union of two half-nuclei, one form the male sperm cell and one from the female egg, each containing half the the number of chromosomes found in all cells. He later demonstrated that the chromosome number is constant for every body cell in each species. 1910-04-28T00:00:00+0000Fraenkel-Conrat was a biochemist who discovered that RNA is pivotal to the genetic control of viral reproduction and that it is carried in the nucelic core of each virus. He made this finding in 1955 during experiments with the tobacco mosaic virus. By 1960 he had determined the complete sequence of the 159 amino acids in the virus.1910-04-29T00:00:00+0000Galton is best known as an early pioneer of Eugenics1911-01-17T00:00:00+0000Stevens was an American biologist who was one of the first scientists to describe the importance of the Y chromosome for determining the sex of some species, and to recognise that females have two X chromosomes. This she determined after noting male beetles produced two kinds of sperm: each with different sized chromosomes. In 1905 she was awarded $1000 for the best scientific paper written by a women. Five years later she was listed as one of America's leading 1000 scientists by The New York Times. 1912-05-04T00:00:00+0000Luria was a microbiologist who made his name in 1943 when he demonstrated, with Max Delbruck, that viruses undergo permanent changes in their hereditary material. The same year he and Delbruck showed phage-resistant bacteria resulted from spontaneous mutations rather than as a direct response to environmental changes. Their work helped explain how bacteria develop antibiotic resistance. Luria had landed up working with Delbruck in the US because he was banned from academic research fellowships in Italy under Mussolini's Italian fascist regime because of his Jewish background. In 1969 Luria was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to discover the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses. 1912-08-13T00:00:00+0000Mazia was a cell biologist whose passion was to understand how cells reproduce. As a doctoral researcher he was one of the first to establish the role of calcium in the egg activation in the process of fertilisation. Following this worked on the process of cell division, structure and division. He is best known for the work he did in 1931 which helped identify the cell structure responsible for mitosis, the process when a eukaryotic cell divides chromosomes into two identical daughter cells. Mazia also determined how the nucleus and chromosomes change during the cell cycle.1912-12-18T00:00:00+0000Dulbecco shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.' His work not only aided better understanding of how viruses cause cancer but also HIV. 1914-02-22T00:00:00+0000Crick is best known for the work he did with James Watson that identified the double-helix structure of DNA in 1953, for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962. He also developed the central dogma of molecular biology which explained how genetic information flowed within a biological system, moving from DNA to RNA and then protein. His subsequent work looked at the way in which the brain works and the nature of consciousness. 1916-06-08T00:00:00+0000Wilkins was a biophysicist whose development of x-ray diffraction techniques helped determine the structure of DNA. He obtained the first x-ray patterns on DNA in 1950. This work led to his winning the Nobel Prize in 1962. Following his work on DNA, Wilkins directed his attention to studying the structure of various forms of RNA and a wide group of genetic problems, like ageing. In his younger years, Wilkins was recruited to work on the Manhattan atomic bomb project during the war. Wilkins became profoundly disillusioned with nuclear weapons after the bombing of Japan and was the president of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science from 1969 to 1991. 1916-12-15T00:00:00+0000A geneticist by training, Sager enjoyed two careers. She first made her mark in the 1950s and 1950s when she discovered the transmission of genetic traits through chloroplast DNA. This was the first example of genetics not involving the cell nucleus. Later on she became a major pioneer in cancer genetics in the early 1970s and was one of the first to propose and investigate the function of tumour suppressor genes. 1918-02-07T00:00:00+0000Kornberg was a biochemist renowned for his research on enzymes which create DNA. In 1956 he and his team isolated the first enzyme known to be involved in the replication of DNA. It would be called DNA polymerase I. For this work Kornberg shared the 1959 Nobel Prize for Medicine. The Prize was given for the discovery of the 'mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid.'1918-03-03T00:00:00+0000Lewis was a developmental geneticist who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development. He made these discoveries based on the fruit fly. By crossbreeding thousands of flies he demonstrated that genes were arranged on the chromosome in the same order as their body segments, whereby the first set of genes controls the development of the head and thorax, the middle set the abdomen, and the final set the hind parts. He also discovered that the genetic regulatory functions could overlap. A fly with a defective gene in the thoracic region could develop an extra set of wings. His work helped explain the causes of congenital deformities. 1918-05-20T00:00:00+0000Monod was a biochemist who, together with Francois Jacob, worked out the genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis based on their experiments with Escherichia coli in the early 1960s. They proposed that a messenger molecule in cells carried codes from the DNA in the cell nucleus to the site of protein synthesis in the cell's cytoplasm. This molecule was later called messenger RNA. Based on his work Monrod was awarded a Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1965. 1920-06-07T00:00:00+0000Jacob was a French biologist who on the back of experiments in bacteria with Jacques Monod provided the first evidence of the existence and role of an intermediary molecule, now known as messenger RNA, which carries genetic information from genes to the cell's protein factories for the production of specific proteins. He shared the Nobel Prize in 1965 for 'discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis.'1920-06-17T00:00:00+0000Witkin is best known for her work on DNA mutagenesis and DNA repair. She helped elucidate the first co-ordinated stress response. This she did studying the response of bacteria to UV radiation. Witkins was one of the first few women to be elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, in 1977. She was also awarded the National Medal of Science in 2002. 1921-03-09T00:00:00+0000Khorana was a chemist who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the elucidation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. He helped demonstrate that the chemical composition and function of a new cell is determined by four nucleotides in DNA and that the nucleotide code is transmitted in groups of three, called codons, and these codons instruct the cell to start and stop the production of proteins. His work also laid the foundation for the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that makes it possible to make billions of copies of small fragments of DNA. 1922-01-09T00:00:00+0000Holley shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.'1922-01-28T00:00:00+0000Hertwig was a German biologist who determined that fertilisation starts when the nuclei of sperm and ovum cells fuse. This he proved in 1876 through experiments with sea urchins. Eight years later he demonstrated, through investigations of frog eggs, that the cell divides along its long axis. He was also prescient in predicting, in 1885, that the nucleic acid is the substance responsible for fertilisation and the transmission of hereditary traits. This phenomenon was proven in 1944. 1922-10-25T00:00:00+0000Lederberg is best known for having discovered the lambda phage, an indispensable tool for studying gene regulation and genetic recombination. She also invented the replica plating technique which is pivotal to tracking antibiotic resistance. 1922-12-18T00:00:00+0000Lederberg was an American geneticist who helped discover the mechanism of genetic recombination in bacteria. This was based on some experiments he performed with Edward Tatum in 1946 which involved mixing two different strains of bacteria. Their experiments also demonstrated for the first time that bacteria reproduced sexually, rather than by cells splitting in two, thereby proving that bacterial genetic systems were similar to those of multicelluar organisms. Later on, in 1952, working with Norton Zinder, Lederberg found that certain bacteriophages (viruses that affect bacteria) could carry a bacterial gene from one bacterium to another. In 1958 Lederberg shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organisation of the genetic material of bacteria.' 1925-05-23T00:00:00+0000Smithies was a geneticist and physical biochemist. He first made his mark in 1955 through his invention of starch gel electrophoresis, a technique used to study human protein variation. Later on, in the 1980s he developed a method for targeted gene replacement in mice, now known as gene targeting, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007. His method has paved the way to the creation of thousands of lines of mice carrying desired genetic mutations. Such mice are now widely used to investigate the role of many different genes in human health and disease.1925-06-23T00:00:00+0000T.B. Johnson, R.D. Coghill, 'The discovery of 5-methyl-cytosine in tuberculinic acid, the nucleic acid of the Tubercle bacillus', Journal of the American Chemical Society, 47/11 (1925, 2838–44. 1925-11-01T00:00:00+0000Brenner shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death.'1927-01-13T00:00:00+0000Nirenberg was a biochemist and geneticist who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for interpreting the genetic code and its function of protein synthesis. The Prize was given on the back of some experiments Nirenberg conducted in 1960 and 1961 which identified particular codons (3 chemical units of DNA) that specified each of the 20 amino acids that make up protein molecules. 1927-04-10T00:00:00+0000Kossel was a German biochemist who was a key pioneer in the field of genetics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1910 for having isolated and described the five organic compounds present in nucleic acid. The compounds he isolated were adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil. These are key to the formation of DNA and RNA. Kossel's work also laid the foundation for determining the composition of protein and its polypetides. 1927-07-05T00:00:00+0000Watson is a molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist. He is renowned for the part he played in determining the double-helix structure of DNA in 1953, for which he shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Nobel Prize for Medicine. Watson also helped set up the Human Genome Project, which he headed up between 1990 to 1992. He left the project after campaign against the NIH patenting of the human genome. In 2007 he became the second person to publish his fully sequenced genome online. This he did to encourage the development of personalised medicine. 1928-04-06T00:00:00+0000Zinder was a biologist who discovered how hereditary information is transferred from one organism to another. The process is known as genetic transduction. Carrying out experiments with the bacteria species Salmonella, Zinder discovered that bacteriophages, a type of virus, carry genes from one bacterium to another. He did the work with Joshua Lederberg, his doctoral supervisor. 1928-11-07T00:00:00+0000Founded by Clarence Little, one of the leading researchers into genetic differences governing the rejection of foreign tissues. 1929-01-01T00:00:00+0000Ruddle helped pioneer human gene mapping and established many of the techniques and a framework for setting up the Human Genome Project. He generated, with Jon W. Gordon and George Scango the first successful transgenic mouse. This heralded the development of genetically modified animals as research models to investigate the function of genes and genetic cause of disease. Ruddle also discovered, with William McGinnis, the first human homeobox genes, important regulators of gene development. 1929-08-19T00:00:00+0000This was based on their experiments with the variegated colour pattern of maize kernels which showed that some genetic elements on the chromosome are capable of movement. They published their results in 'A Correlation of Cytological and Genetical Crossing-Over in Zea Mays',PNAS, 7/8 (1931), 492-97. 1931-08-01T00:00:00+0000Michael Smith shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for a technique that enables researchers to introduce specific mutations into genes and, thus, to the proteins that they encode. He developed the method, known as site-directed mutagenesis, in the 1970s, in collaboration with Fred Sanger and Clyde A Hutchinson III. The advantage of the technique was that it allowed comparisons to be made of different protein molecules and provided a means to deliberately alter a specific gene thereby making it possible to modify the characteristics of an organism. His work opened up a new chapter for studying and treating genetic diseases. Site-directed mutagenesis is a pivotal tool today in genetic and protein research and engineering and at the forefront of the development of monoclonal antibody drugs. 1932-04-26T00:00:00+0000Temin was a geneticist and virologist who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for work on the interactions between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell. In 1969 he demonstrated that certain tumour viruses carry the ability to reverse the flow of information from RNA back to DNA using the enzyme reverse transcriptase. The same enzyme is now is now known to be linked to the widespread spread of viral diseases like AIDs and Hepatitis B. 1934-12-10T00:00:00+0000Altman is a molecular biologist who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for discovering the catalytic properties of RNA. This emerged out of some work Altman carried out between 1978 and 1983 on a bacterial enzyme called RNAs-P. His research helped transform the basic understanding of nuclear acids, which up to this moment had been understood to only carry genetic information. It also opened up the possibility of using genetic engineering to develop new forms of therapy against viral infections. 1939-05-07T00:00:00+0000Hartwell shared the 2001 Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to discover protein molecules that regulate the cell cycle. This was based on his identification of more than 100 genes that control the growth and division of cells in baker's yeast in the late 1960s. He also discovered optional pauses in the cell cycle which allowed time for the repair of damaged DNA. This work has advanced the understanding of cancer and other diseases related to when the cell cycle breaks down. From 1997 to 2010 Hartwell served as the president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. 1939-10-30T00:00:00+0000The mice were developed by George Snell. 1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000MK Barrett, 'The influence of genetic constitution upon the induction of resistance to transplantable tumors', Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2 (1940), 387-93.1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000George Beadle and Edward Tatum, American geneticists, demonstrate that genes are responsible for the production of an enzyme. 1941-01-01T00:00:00+0000Evans shared the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering the 'principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.'1941-01-01T00:00:00+0000C.H. Waddington, 'The Epigenotype', Endeavour, 1 (1942), 18-20.1942-01-01T00:00:00+0000Sulston is a biologist. He played a central role in sequencing the genome of the Caenorhabditis elegans, a transparent nematode (roundworm). It was the first animal to have its genome sequenced. Based on his work with the nematode Sulston helped set up the project to sequence the human genome which he did as director of the Sanger Centre. The first draft of the human genome sequence was completed in 2000. In 2002 he shared the Nobel Prize for identifying how genes regulate the life cycle of cells through apoptosis. 1942-03-27T00:00:00+0000Nusslein-Volhard shared the 1958 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries relating to genetic control of early embryonic development. She demonstrated this through her investigations of how genes regulate the early development of fruit flies. Her findings laid a pathway to understanding genetic defects in human embryos. 1942-10-20T00:00:00+0000Witkin discovered the radiation resistance after exposing E coli stain B bacteria to high doses of UV light. She subsequently worked out that the resistance was due to a particular genetic mutation in the bacteria strain which inhibited cell division. Witkin did the work under the guidance of Milislav Demerec at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She published her findings in EM Witkin, 'A case of inherited resistance to radiation in bacteria', Genetics, 31 (1946) 236; EM Witkin, 'Inherited Differences in Sensitivity to Radiation in Escherichia Coli', PNAS USA, 32/3 (1946), 59–68. Witkin's work laid the foundation for showing that cell division is inhibited when DNA is damaged and was the first demonstration of a cell checkpoint. 1944-01-01T00:00:00+0000Sharp is a geneticist and molecular biologist. He shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of RNA splicing. This was awarded on the back of some research he did in 1977 which showed that RNA can be divided up into introns and exons, after which the exons can be joined together. This process can happen in different ways. It provides the means for the gene to form a number of different proteins. Sharp also co-founded Biogen, set up in 1978, and helped found Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Magen Biosciences.1944-06-06T00:00:00+0000Morgan is considered the father of the modern science of genetics. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933 for demonstrating how genes carried on chromosomes are the mechanical basis of hereditary. This he determined based on some cross-breeding experiments with the fruit fly (Drosophila) that he conducted between 1908 and 1911.1945-12-04T00:00:00+0000McClung was a zoologist. He is best known for identifying the role of chromosomes in determining the sex of a species. This he did through a series of experiments with insects between 1901 and 1902. Based on his findings he hypothesised that the accessory chromosome (now known as chromosome X) could be the nuclear element that determined sex. It was the first time a scientist suggested that a given chromosome carried a set of hereditary traits. 1946-01-17T00:00:00+0000Kornberg is a biochemist whose research is focused on working out the mechanism and regulation of transcription, which is the first step in the pathway of gene expression. In 2006 he won the Nobel Prize for working out the protein pathway that a cell's genetic information takes when transferred to a new cell. He showed how information is carried from the genes and converted to molecules called messenger ribonucleic acid (RNA). This he worked out by mapping out the process in yeast. Kornberg was the first to work out how transcription works at a molecular level in eukaryotes, a group of organisms, including humans, whose cells have a well-defined nucleus. 1947-04-24T00:00:00+0000Horvitz is a biologist who shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries into how genes regulate tissue and organ development through cell death. Critically he showed in 1986, through investigations of the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, that the process was controlled by two 'death genes', ced-3 and ced-4. He subsequently identifed another gene, ced-9, which protects against cell death by interacting with ced-3 and ced-4. Later on he found that humans had a counterpart ced-3 gene. His work on cell death, known as apoptosis, opened the door to the development of new cancer treatments.1947-05-08T00:00:00+0000Wieschaus is an evolutionary developmental biologist who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for Medicine for research into genetic controls during early embryonic development. Working together with Nüsslein-Volhard on embryo formation in Drosophila), the fruit fly, Wieschaus helped establish that approximately 5,000 of the fly's 20,000 genes are important to embryo development, of which 150 are essential. 1947-06-08T00:00:00+0000This was based on McClintock's finding that two genes that controlled for pigmentation in maize could move along the chromosome to a different site and that these changes affected the behaviour of neighbouring genes. She suggested that this explained new mutations in pigmentation and other characteristics. 1948-01-01T00:00:00+0000R.D. Hotchkiss, 'The quantative separation of purines, pyrimidines, and nucleosides by paper chromatography', J Biol Chem, 175/1 (1948), 315-32. 1948-03-10T00:00:00+0000The lambda phage has become a key tool in molecular biology and is important for genetic engineering. It has the advantage that it can be easily grown in E Coli and is not pathogenic except in the case of bacteria. Lederberg's discovery paved the way to understanding the transfer of genetic material between bacteria, the mechanisms involved in gene regulation and how piece of DNA break apart and recombine to make new genes. EM Lederberg, 'Lysogenicity in Escherichia coli strain K-12', Microbial Genetics Bulletin, 1, (1950), 5-9. 1950-01-01T00:00:00+0000Jeffreys, a British geneticist, pioneered the process for DNA fingerprinting, a technique that helps identify individuals based on their genetic makeup. It was based on his discovery in 1984 that each individual had unique numbers of repeated DNA fragments, called restriction fragment length polymorphisms, in their cells. 1950-01-09T00:00:00+0000HE Alexander and G Leidy, 'Transformation of Type Specificity of H. influenzae,' American Pediatric Society, French Lick, May 10, 1950.1950-05-10T00:00:00+0000G.R. Wyatt, 'Recognition and estimation of 5-methylcytosine in nucleic acids', Biochem J, 48/5 (1951), 581-4.1951-05-01T00:00:00+0000Szotak is a biologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for helping to discover how chromosomes are protected by telomeres, a section of DNA at the end of a chromosome. He is also known for having constructed the world's first yeast artificial chromosome, a breakthrough that has helped scientists to map the location of genes in mammals and develop techniques for mapping genes. Szotak is also responsible for the development of a technique known as in vitro evolution of RNA which makes it possible to discover RNAs with desired functions. 1952-11-09T00:00:00+0000Herrick was an American physician and cardiologist who reported the first case of sickle-shaped red blood cells in 1910. These he found in the blood of a medical student from Grenada suffering from anaemia. Clinicians subsequently found that the condition, called sickle-cell anaemia, was inherited and was most common in black patients. Sickle-cell anemia was the first disease found to have a genetic cause. Herrick later also observed the first clinical features of coronary thrombosis. 1954-03-07T00:00:00+0000Pauling was an American chemist and biochemist who helped pioneer quantum chemistry and mechanics. He combined methods from x-ray crystallography, molecular model building and quantum chemistry. Pauling was the first to find the alpha helix structure of proteins. In 1954 he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his 'research on the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex structures.' He also co-authored the first paper to suggest sickle-cell anaemia was a genetic disease, which introduced the concept of 'molecular disease'. Pauling was the only person to have received two Nobel Prizes. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, which was given for opposition to nuclear weapons. 1954-10-31T00:00:00+0000Avery was a Canadian-American physician and bacteriologist who provided the first evidence that that genes are made up of DNA. In 1944 he and colleagues conducted a series of experiments in mice using two sets of bacteria, one smooth (virulent) and the other rough (nonvirulent), associated with pneumonia. In the first instance they injected the virulent bacteria into the mouse, which went on to die. Next they injected the non-virulent bacteria into a mouse, which survived. They then heated the virulent bacteria to kill it and injected it into a mouse, which survived. Following this they injected a mixture of heat-killed bacteria with the virulent bacteria into the mouse, which died. Finally they injected a mixture of harmless bacteria with DNA extracted from the heated lethal bacteria in a mouse which died. The experiment showed that the harmless bacteria became lethal when mixed with DNA from the virulent bacteria. 1955-02-02T00:00:00+0000The observation was made by the American scientists Lazarus Astrachan and Elliot Voilin in an experiment to understand ho hereditary information encoded in DNA is used by living cells to synthesise proteins.1957-01-01T00:00:00+0000C.H. Waddington, The Strategy of the Genes: A Discussion of Some Aspects of Theoretical Biology (London, 1957).1957-01-01T00:00:00+0000The phenomenon was named the 'Hayflick Limit' after Leonard Hayflick who discovered it. It is now known to relate to genetic instability in aging cells and the development of cancer.1961-01-01T00:00:00+0000Experiment conducted by Sydney Brenner, Francois Jacob and Matt Meselson1961-03-31T00:00:00+0000Greider is best known for her discovery of telomerase, an enzyme made up of protein and RNA subunits that help elongate and protect chromosomes. The enzyme is found in fetal tissues, adult germ cells and also tumour cells. Greider made the discovery in 1984 when she was a graduate student of Elizabeth Blackburn. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2009 on the back of this work. 1961-04-15T00:00:00+0000M.F. Lyon, 'Gene action in the X-chromosome of the mouse', Nature, 190 (1961), 372–73.1961-04-22T00:00:00+0000Werner Arber, Swiss microbiologist and geneticist, and his doctoral student Daisy Dussoix propose bacteria produce restriction and modification enzymes to counter invading viruses. W. Arber, D. Dussoix, Journal Molecular Biology, 5 (1962), 18–36 and 37-49.1962-01-23T00:00:00+0000The award was given to James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins. The work of these individuals was built upon that of Rosalind Franklin who died before the Nobel Prize was awarded. 1962-10-18T00:00:00+0000Muller was an American geneticist. He demonstrated that X-rays could change the genetic make-up fruit-flies and that the mutations could be passed on to subsequent generations. Published in 1927 this work attracted widespread attention it marked the first time the genetics of a species was intentionally altered. Muller's work opened up new understanding of how mutations are caused and heralded a revolution in genetics research. He was awarded he 1946 Nobel Prize for 'the discovery of the production of mutations by means of X-ray irradiation'.1967-04-15T00:00:00+0000W. Arber, S.Linn, 'DNA modification and restriction', Annual Review Biochemistry, 38 (1969), 467-500.1969-07-01T00:00:00+0000A.D. Riggs, 'X inactivation, differentiation, and DNA methylation', Cytogenet Cell Genet, 14 (1975), 9–25; R. Sager, R. Kitchin, 'Selective silencing of eukaryotic DNA', Science, 189/4201 (1975), 426-33. 1975-01-01T00:00:00+0000R. Holliday, J.E. Pugh, 'DNA modification mechanisms and gene activity during development', Science, 187 (1975), 226–32.1975-01-01T00:00:00+0000Tatum was an American biochemist who shared the 1958 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering how genes regulate biochemical events in cells. This was based on some experiments he carried out with colleagues at Stanford University in 1941 which involved crossing normal strains of the pink bread mould, Neurospora crassa, with another strain of the mould they had exposed to X-rays to induce genetic mutations. The offspring were found to inherit the mutation which manifested itself as metabolic defect. This led them to conclude that there was a direct link between genes and enzymatic reactions.1975-11-05T00:00:00+0000Monod was a French biochemist who, together with Francois Jacob, worked out the genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis based on their experiments with Escherichia coli in the early 1960s. They proposed that a messenger molecule in cells carried codes from the DNA in the cell nucleus to the site of protein synthesis in the cell's cytoplasm. This molecule was later called messenger RNA. Based on his work Monrod was awarded a Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1965. 1976-05-31T00:00:00+0000Lysenko was a Russian biologist who rejected the principles of Mendelian genetics and embraced the ideas of Jean-Baptiste Lamark who promoted the idea that an organism could pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring. Much of his work was directed towards trying to convert wheat crops to grow in different seasons. Stalin appointed Lysenko director of the Institute of Genetics in 1940, a position he retained until 1965. His rejection of orthodox genetics set Soviet agriculture and biology back by many decades. 1976-11-20T00:00:00+0000The method, known as the oocyte stem, was developed by Janet Mertz together with John Gurdon and Edward M DeRobertis. It was published in EM. De Robertis, JB. Gurdon, GA. Partington, JE Mertz, RA, 'Injected amphibian oocytes: a living test tube for the study of eukaryotic gene transcription?', Biochemistry Society Symposium, 42 (1977),181-91.1977-01-01T00:00:00+0000A German biophysicist, Delbruck helped discover how viruses replicate their genetic structure, showing that bacterial resistance from viruses is due to random mutation and not the result of adaptive changes. In 1969 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the back of this work. 1981-03-09T00:00:00+0000S.J. Compere, R.D. Palmiter, 'DNA methylation controls the inducibility of the mouse metallothionein-I gene lymphoid cells', Cell, 25 (1981), 233–240. 1981-07-01T00:00:00+00001982-01-01T00:00:00+00001982-01-01T00:00:00+0000A.P. Feinberg, B. Vogelstein, 'Hypomethylation distinguishes genes of some human cancers from their normal counterparts', Nature, 301/5895 (1983), 89-92.1983-01-06T00:00:00+0000The first genetic fingerprint was discovered by accident by Alec Jeffrey when conducting experiments to look at how genetic variations evolved. 1984-09-10T00:00:00+0000A. Bird, M. Taggart, M. Frommer, O.J. Miller, D. Macleod, ‘A fraction of the mouse genome that is derived from islands of nonmethylated, CpG-rich DNA’, Cell, 40/1 (1985 Jan;40(1):91-9. 1985-01-01T00:00:00+0000This was developed by the British geneticist Jeffreys. He developed the technique as part of his efforts to trace genes through family lineages. It was based on his discovery that each individual had unique numbers of repeated DNA fragments, called restriction fragment length polymorphisms, in their cells. The principle was described in A J Jeffreys, V Wilson, S L Thein, 'Hypervariable 'minisatellite' regions in human DNA', Nature, 314 (1985), 67-73. 1985-03-07T00:00:00+0000Undertaken to prove maternity of a 15 year old boy threatened with deportation to Ghana by the UK Home Office because of doubts over the identity of his mother, an immigrant based in the UK. The test proved the boy was related to his mother. Without the test the mother and son would not have been able to remain together in the same country. 1985-05-17T00:00:00+0000T. Bestor, A. Laudano, R. Mattaliano, V. Ingram, 'Cloning and sequencing of a cDNA encoding DNA methyltransferase of mouse cells', Journal Molecular Biology, 203 (1988), 971–83. 1988-10-20T00:00:00+0000Beadle, an American geneticist, was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1958 for discovering the role of genes in regulating biochemical events within cells. He made the discovery in collaboration with Edward Tatum while conducting experiments that exposed Neurospora crassa, a the bread mould, to x-rays to cause mutations. They found that the mutations caused changes in specific enzymes that were involved in metabolic pathways. The work was done at Stanford University.1989-07-09T00:00:00+0000V. Greger, E. Passarge, W. Hopping, E. Messmer, B. Horsthemke, 'Epigenetic changes may contribute to the formation and spontaneous regression of retinoblastoma', Human Genetics, 83 (1989), 155–58. 1989-09-01T00:00:00+0000The was determined by a team led by Marie-Claire King who conducted a genetic analysis of 23 extended families, a total of 329 relatives. J Hall, M Lee, B Newman, J Morrow, L Anderson, B Huey, M King, 'Linkage of early-onset familial breast cancer to chromosome 17q21', Science, 250/4988 (1990): 1684–89. 1990-12-01T00:00:00+0000Luria was an IItalian microbiologist who made his name in 1943 when he demonstrated, with Max Delbruck, that viruses undergo permanent changes in their hereditary material. The same year he and Delbruck showed phage-resistant bacteria resulted from spontaneous mutations rather than as a direct response to environmental changes. Their work helped explain how bacteria develop antibiotic resistance. Luria had landed up working with Delbruck in the US because he was banned from academic research fellowships in Italy under Mussolini's Italian fascist regime because of his Jewish background. In 1969 Luria was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to discover the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses.1991-02-06T00:00:00+0000M. Frommer, L.E. McDonald, D.S. Millar, C.M. Collis, F. Watt, G.W. Grigg, P.L. Molloy, C.L. Paul, 'A genomic sequencing protocol that yields a positive display of 5-methylcytosine residues in individual DNA strands', PNAS, 89/5 (1992), 1827-31.1992-03-01T00:00:00+0000Mouse genetated with genes knocked out that produce the enzyme DNA methyltransfgerase involved in DNA methylation. E. Li, T.H. Bestor, R. Jaenisch, 'Targeted mutation of the DNA methyltransferase gene results in embryonic lethality', Cell, 69/6 (1992), 915-26.1992-06-12T00:00:00+0000McClintock was a pioneer in the field of cytogenetics, a branch of genetics concerned with how chromosomes affect cell behaviour. Based on her investigation of how chromosomes change in reproductiuon in maize she demonstrated in the late 1920s that genes can shift to different locations by themselves. In the 1940s and 1950s she showed that genes are responsible for turning physical characteristics on and off, a process called transposition. Initially scientists were sceptical of her findings so she stopped publishing her date in 1953. By the 1960s and 1970s attitudes towards her work changed as more scientists made similar findings. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her work.1992-09-02T00:00:00+0000W.F. Zapisek, G.M. Cronin, B.D. Lyn-Cook, L.A. Poirier, 'The onset of oncogene hypomethylation in the livers of rats fed methyl-deficient, amino acid-defined diets', Carcinogenesis, 13/10 (1992), 1869-72.1992-10-01T00:00:00+0000Holley shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.'1993-02-11T00:00:00+0000Ochoa was a Spanish biochemist and molecular biologist whose research was devoted to understanding enzymes and their role in intermediary metabolism. He was one of the first scientists to show the pivotal role of high energy phosphates, like adenosine triphosphate, in the storage and release of energy. During this work he discovered the enzyme polynucleotide phosphorylase, which plays an important role in the synthesis of ribonucleic acid (RNA). This enzyme provided the foundation for the subsequent synthesis of artificial RNA and the breaking of the human genetic code. Ochoa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1959 for his work on the biological synthesis of RNA. 1993-11-01T00:00:00+0000Temin was an American geneticist and virologist who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for work on the interactions between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell. In 1969 he demonstrated that certain tumour viruses carry the ability to reverse the flow of information from RNA back to DNA using the enzyme reverse transcriptase. The same enzyme is now is now known to be linked to the widespread spread of viral diseases like AIDs and Hepatitis B.1994-02-09T00:00:00+0000Pauling was an American chemist and biochemist who helped pioneer quantum chemistry and mechanics. He combined methods from x-ray crystallography, molecular model building and quantum chemistry. Pauling was the first to find the alpha helix structure of proteins. In 1954 he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his 'research on the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex structures.' He also co-authored the first paper to suggest sickle-cell anaemia was a genetic disease, which introduced the concept of 'molecular disease'. Pauling was the only person to have received two Nobel Prizes. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, which was given for opposition to nuclear weapons. 1994-08-19T00:00:00+00001995-01-01T00:00:00+0000P.W. Laird, L. Jackson-Grusby, A. Fazeli, S. L. Dickinson, W. E. Jung, E. Li, R.A. Weinberg, R. Jaenisch, 'Suppression of intestinal neoplasia by DNA hypomethylation', Cell, 81 (1995),197-205, April 21, 1995,1995-04-21T00:00:00+0000Snell was a major founder of immunogenetics as a discipline. He is best known for helping to identify the major histocompatibility complex, a group of genes that code for proteins found on the surface of cells that help the immune system differentiate between self and nonself cells, and demonstrating its role in tissue graft rejection. This work laid the foundation for carrying out successful transplants in both animals and humans. Snell shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions'.1996-06-06T00:00:00+0000Mazia was an American cell biologist whose passion was to understand how cells reproduce. As a doctoral researcher he was one of the first to establish the role of calcium in the egg activation in the process of fertilisation. Following this worked on the process of cell division, structure and division. He is best known for the work he did in 1931 which helped identify the cell structure responsible for mitosis, the process when a eukaryotic cell divides chromosomes into two identical daughter cells. Mazia also determined how the nucleus and chromosomes change during the cell cycle. 1996-06-09T00:00:00+0000A geneticist by training, Sager enjoyed two careers. She first made her mark in the 1950s and 1950s when she discovered the transmission of genetic traits through chloroplast DNA. This was the first example of genetics not involving the cell nucleus. Later on she became a major pioneer in cancer genetics in the early 1970s and was one of the first to propose and investigate the function of tumour suppressor genes. 1997-03-29T00:00:00+0000Hershey was an American bacteriologist and geneticist. He is best known for a series of experiments with bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, that helped confirm that DNA rather than proteins carried genetic material. These he performed with Martha Chase in 1952. Hershey shared the 1969 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses.' 1997-05-22T00:00:00+0000Introduction of RNA into cells is shown to silence genes in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Term 'RNA interference' coined. A Fire, S Xu, M K Montgomery, S A Kostas, S E Driver, C C Mello, 'Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans', Nature 391 (1998), 806–11.1998-02-01T00:00:00+0000Fraenkel-Conrat was a German biochemist who discovered that RNA is pivotal to the genetic control of viral reproduction and that it is carried in the nucelic core of each virus. He made this finding in 1955 during experiments with the tobacco mosaic virus. By 1960 he had determined the complete sequence of the 159 amino acids in the virus. 1999-04-10T00:00:00+0000M. Toyota, N. Ahuja, M. Ohe-Toyota, J.G. Herman, S.B. Baylin, J-P.J. Issa, 'CpG island methylator phenotype in colorectal cancer', PNAS, 96/15 (1999), 8681–86.1999-07-20T00:00:00+0000H.D. Morgan, H.G. Sutherland, D.I. Martin, E. Whitelaw, 'Epigenetic inheritance at the agouti locus in the mouse', Nature Genetics, 23 (1991), 314–18.1999-11-01T00:00:00+0000Michael Smith shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for a technique that enables researchers to introduce specific mutations into genes and, thus, to the proteins that they encode. He developed the method, known as site-directed mutagenesis, in the 1970s, in collaboration with Fred Sanger and Clyde A Hutchinson III. The advantage of the technique was that it allowed comparisons to be made of different protein molecules and provide a means to deliberately alter a specific gene thereby making it possible to modify the characteristics of an organism. His work opened up a new chapter for studying and treating genetic diseases. Site-directed mutagenesis is a pivotal tool today in genetic and protein research and engineering and at the forefront of the development of monoclonal antibody drugs. 2000-10-04T00:00:00+00002001-01-01T00:00:00+0000Research led by Frank J Rauscher, published in Genes and Development.2002-04-14T00:00:00+0000Research carried out by Ramin Shiekhattar published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2002-08-20T00:00:00+00002004-01-01T00:00:00+0000Lewis was an American developmental geneticist who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development. He made these discoveries based on the fruit fly. By crossbreeding thousands of flies he demonstrated that genes were arranged on the chromosome in the same order as their body segments, whereby the first set of genes controls the development of the head and thorax, the middle set the abdomen, and the final set the hind parts. He also discovered that the genetic regulatory functions could overlap. A fly with a defective gene in the thoracic region could develop an extra set of wings. His work helped explain the causes of congenital deformities. 2004-07-21T00:00:00+0000Crick is best known for the work he did with James Watson that identified the double-helix structure of DNA in 1953, for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962. He also developed the central dogma of molecular biology which explained how genetic information flowed within a biological system, moving from DNA to RNA and then protein. His subsequent work looked at the way in which the brain works and the nature of consciousness.2004-07-28T00:00:00+0000Wilkins was a New Zealand biophysicist whose development of x-ray diffraction techniques helped determine the structure of DNA. He obtained the first x-ray patterns on DNA in 1950. This work led to his winning the Nobel Prize in 1962. Following his work on DNA, Wilkins directed his attention to studying the structure of various forms of RNA and a wide group of genetic problems, like ageing. In his younger years, Wilkins was recruited to work on the Manhattan atomic bomb project during the war. Wilkins became profoundly disillusioned with nuclear weapons after the bombing of Japan and was the president of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science from 1969 to 1991. 2004-10-05T00:00:00+0000Study conducted by team led by Shelley Berger published in Molecular Cell.2005-02-17T00:00:00+0000Drug made by MGI Pharma. approved for treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes, bone marrow disorders2006-01-01T00:00:00+0000Drug made by Merck & Co2006-10-06T00:00:00+0000Lederberg is best known for having discovered the lambda phage, an indispensable tool for studying gene regulation and genetic recombination. She also invented the replica plating technique which is pivotal to tracking antibiotic resistance. 2006-11-11T00:00:00+0000Kornberg was an American biochemist renowned for his research on enzymes which create DNA. In 1956 he and his team isolated the first enzyme known to be involved in the replication of DNA. It would be called DNA polymerase I. For this work Kornberg shared the 1959 Nobel Prize for Medicine. The Prize was given for the discovery of the 'mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid.'2007-10-26T00:00:00+0000Achieved by Emmanuel Skordalakes2008-01-01T00:00:00+0000Lederberg was an American geneticist who helped discover the mechanism of genetic recombination in bacteria. This was based on some experiments he performed with Edward Tatum in 1946 which involved mixing two different strains of bacteria. Their experiments also demonstrated for the first time that bacteria reproduced sexually, rather than by cells splitting in two, thereby proving that bacterial genetic systems were similar to those of multicelluar organisms. Later on, in 1952, working with Norton Zinder, Lederberg found that certain bacteriophages (viruses that affect bacteria) could carry a bacterial gene from one bacterium to another. In 1958 Lederberg shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organisation of the genetic material of bacteria.' 2008-02-02T00:00:00+00002009-11-01T00:00:00+0000Nirenberg was a biochemist and geneticist who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for interpreting the genetic code and its function of protein synthesis. The Prize was given on the back of some experiments Nirenberg conducted in 1960 and 1961 which identified particular codons (3 chemical units of DNA) that specified each of the 20 amino acids that make up protein molecules.2010-01-15T00:00:00+0000Khorana was an Indian chemist who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the elucidation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. He helped demonstrate that the chemical composition and function of a new cell is determined by four nucleotides in DNA and that the nucleotide code is transmitted in groups of three, called codons, and these codons instruct the cell to start and stop the production of proteins. His work also laid the foundation for the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that makes it possible to make billions of copies of small fragments of DNA. 2011-11-09T00:00:00+0000Zinder was an American biologist who discovered how hereditary information is transferred from one organism to another. The process is known as genetic transduction. Carrying out experiments with the bacteria species Salmonella, Zinder discovered that bacteriophages, a type of virus, carry genes from one bacterium to another. He did the work with Joshua Lederberg, his doctoral supervisor. 2012-02-03T00:00:00+0000Dulbecco was an Italian American who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.' His work not only aided better understanding of how viruses cause cancer but also HIV. 2012-02-19T00:00:00+00002012-09-28T00:00:00+0000Ruddle helped pioneer human gene mapping and established many of the techniques and a framework for setting up the Human Genome Project. He also generated, with Jon W. Gordon and George Scango the first successful transgenic mouse. This heralded the development of genetically modified animals as research models to investigate the function of genes and genetic cause of disease. Ruddle also discovered, with William McGinnis, the first human homeobox genes, important regulators of gene development. 2013-03-10T00:00:00+00002015-04-01T00:00:00+0000K.B. Chiappinelli, P.L. Strissel, A. Desrichard, et al, 'Inhibiting DNA methylation causes an interferon response in cancer via dsRNA including endogenous retroviruses', Cell, 162 (2015), 974-86.2015-08-27T00:00:00+0000Griffin was a leading expert on viruses that cause cancer. She was the first woman appointed to Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital. In 1980 she completed the sequence of the poliovirus, the longest piece of eukaryotic DNA to be sequenced at that time. She devoted her life to understanding the Epstein-Barr virus, the cause of Burkitt's Lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer. 2016-06-13T00:00:00+0000Smithies was a British-born American geneticist and physical biochemist. He first made his mark in 1955 through his invention of starch gel electrophoresis, a technique used to study human protein variation. Later on, in the 1980s he developed a method for targeted gene replacement in mice, now known as gene targeting, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2007. His method has paved the way to the creation of thousands of lines of mice carrying desired genetic mutations. Such mice are now widely used to investigate the role of many different genes in human health and disease. 2017-01-10T00:00:00+0000Discovery made as a result of study of 177 members of the Old Order of Amish community in Indiana. S. Khan, et al, 'A null mutation in SERPINE1 protects against biological aging in humans', Science Advances, 3/11 (2017), DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao16172017-11-15T00:00:00+0000Sulston was a biologist. He played a central role in sequencing the genome of the Caenorhabditis elegans, a transparent nematode (roundworm). It was the first animal to have its genome sequenced. Based on his work with the nematode Sulston helped set up the project to sequence the human genome which he did as director of the Sanger Centre. The first draft of the human genome sequence was completed in 2000. In 2002 he shared the Nobel Prize for identifying how genes regulate the life cycle of cells through apoptosis. 2018-03-09T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places
1 Oct 1744Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was born in Bazentin, Picardy, FranceLamarckFrench Academy of Sciences
5 Apr 1804Matthias J Schleiden was bornSchleiden University of Jena
16 Feb 1822Francis Galton was born in Birmingham, United KingdomGaltonUniversity College London
20 Jul 1822Gregor Johann Mendel was born in Hyncice, Czech RepublicMendelHyncice, Czech Republic
18 Dec 1829Jean-Baptiste Lamarck diedLamarckFrench Academy of Sciences
1842First observation of chromosomes by Swiss botanist Karl von NageliNageli
21 Apr 1843Walther Flemming was born in Schwerin, GermanyFlemmingUniversity of Kiel
5 Mar 1846Edouard van Beneden was born in Leuven, Belgianvan Beneden University of Liege
21 Apr 1849Oskar Hertwig was born in Friedberg, GermanyHertwigFriedberg, Germany
16 Sep 1853Albrecht Kossel was born in Rostock, Mecklenburg (now Germany)KosselUniversity of Heidelberg
7 Jul 1861Nettie Maria Stevens was born in Cavendish, Vermon, USAStevensCarnegie Institute, Bryn Mawr College
11 Aug 1861James Bryan Herrick was born in Oak Park, Illinois, USAHerrickRush Medical College
1864 - 1865Nucleus shown to contain genetic substanceHertwig, von Kolliker, Strasburger, Weismann University of Munich, University of Wurzburg, University of Freiburg
1865Laws of inheritance establishedMendelAbbey of St Thomas, Brno, Austro-Hungarian Empire
1866Theory that cell's nucleus contains genetic substanceHaeckelUniversity of Jena
25 Sep 1866Thomas Hunt Morgan was born in Lexington KY, USAMorganColumbia University, California Institute of Technology
5 Apr 1870Clarence E McClung was born in Clayton, California, USAMcClungUniversity of Pennsylvania
1883The term 'Eugenics' is coined by Francis Galton to denote the science of improving stock by judicious matingGalton 
6 Jan 1884Gregor Johann Mendel diedMendel 
1889Richard Altmann, German pathologist, renames nuclein as nucleic acidAltmannLeipzig University
21 Dec 1890Hermann J Muller was born in New York, USAMullerIndiana University
1898A nucelotide called tuberculinic acid found to bind to the protein tuberculin. It is now regarded as the precursor to the discovery of DNA methylationRuppelPhilipps University of Marburg
29 Sep 1898Trofim D Lysenko as born in Karlivka, Poltava Governorate, Russian EmpireLyschenoLenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences
28 Feb 1901Linus C Pauling was born in Portland OR, USAPaulingCalifornia Institute of Technology
1902Chromosomes linked with inheritanceBoveri, GarrodZoological-Zootomical Institute, Columbia University
1902 - 1908Metabolic disease explained by genetic defectsGarrodOxford University
16 Jun 1902Barbara McClintock was born in Hartford CT, USAMcClintockUniversity of Missouri
22 Oct 1903George Wells Beadle was born in Wahoo NE, USABeadleCalifornia Institute of Technology, Stanford University
19 Dec 1903George D Snell was born in Bradford MA, USASnellJackson Laboratory
4 Aug 1905Walther Flemming diedFlemmingUniversity of Kiel
24 Sep 1905Severo Ochoa was born in Luarca, SpainOchoaNew York University
4 Sep 1906Max Delbruck was born in Berlin, GermanyDelbruckCalifornia Institute of Technology
4 Dec 1908Alfred D Hershey was born in Owosso, MI, USAHersheyCarnegie Institution of Washington
14 Dec 1909Edward L Tatum was born in Boulder CO, USATatumStanford University, Yale University
1910Chromosomes linked with hereditary traitsMorganColumbia University
28 Apr 1910Edouard van Beneden diedvan Beneden University of Liege
29 Apr 1910Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat was bornFraenkel-Conrat University of California Berkeley
17 Jan 1911Francis Galton diedGalton 
4 May 1912Nettie Maria Stevens diedStevensBryn Mawr College, Carnegie Institute
13 Aug 1912Salvador E Luria was born in Torino, ItalyLuriaMassachusetts Institute of Technology
18 Dec 1912Daniel Mazia was born Scranton, PA, USAMaziaUniversity of California Berkeley
22 Feb 1914Renato Dulbecco was born in Catanzaro, ItalyDulbeccoImperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratory
8 Jun 1916Francis H C Crick was born in Northampton, United KingdomCrickLaboratory of Molecular Biology
15 Dec 1916Maurice H F Wilkins was born in Pongaroa, New ZealandWilkinsKing's College London
7 Feb 1918Ruth Sager was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, USASagerRockefeller University
3 Mar 1918Arthur Kornberg was born in Brooklyn NY, USAKornbergStanford University
20 May 1918Edward B Lewis was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA, USALewisCalifornia Institute of Technology
7 Jun 1920Jacques Monod was born in Nancy, FranceMonodPasteur Institute
17 Jun 1920Francois Jacob was born in Nancy, FranceJacobPasteur Institute
9 Mar 1921Evelyn Witkin was born in New York City, USAWitkinNew York City
9 Jan 1922Har Gobind Khorana was born in Raipur, IndiaKhoranaUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
28 Jan 1922Robert W Holley was born in Urbana IL, USAHolleyCornell University
25 Oct 1922Oskar Hertwig diedHertwig 
18 Dec 1922Esther Lederberg was born in Bronx, New York, USAEsther LederbergWisconsin University
23 May 1925Joshua Lederberg was born in Montclair, NJ, USAJoshua LederbergUniversity of Wisconsin
23 Jun 1925Oliver Smithies was born in Halifax, United KingdomSmithesUniversity of Washington, University of North Carolina
November 1925T.B. Johnson and R.D. Coghill reported detecting a minor amount of methylated cytosine derivative as byproduct of hyrdrolysis of tuberculinic acid with sulfuric acid but other scientists struggled to replicate their results. Johnson, CoghillYale University
13 Jan 1927Sydney Brenner was born in Germiston, South AfricaBrennerLaboratory of Molecular Biology
10 Apr 1927Marshall W Nirenberg was born in New York NY, USANirenbergNational Institutes of Health
5 Jul 1927Albrecht Kossel diedKosselUniversity of Heidelberg
6 Apr 1928James D Watson was born in Chicago, IL, USAWatsonLaboratory of Molecular Biology
7 Nov 1928Norton D Zinder was born New York City, USAZinderRockefeller University
1929Jackson Memorial Laboratories established to develop inbred strains of mice to study the genetics of cancer and other diseasesJackson Memorial Laboratoroies
19 Aug 1929Frank Ruddle was born in West New York, New JerseyRuddleYale University
August 1931Barbara McClintock and Harriet Creighton, her graduate student, provided first experimental proof that genes are positioned on chromosomesMcClintock, CreightonCornell University
26 Apr 1932Michael Smith was born in Blackpool, United KingdomSmithUniversity of British Columbia
10 Dec 1934Howard M Temin was born in Philadelphia, PA, USATeminUniversity of Wisconsin
7 May 1939Sidney Altman was born in Montreal, CanadaAltmannLaboratory of Molecular Biology
30 Oct 1939Leland H Hartwell was born in Los Angeles, CA, USAHartwellFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
1940The first cogenic line of inbred mouse strains were developed, which helped determine the major histocompatibility complex, a set of genes that code for proteins found on the surfaces of cells which help the immune system recognise foreign substances. SnellJackson Laboratory
1940Inbred strains of mice bred at Jackson Memorial Laboratory showed that resistance to transplanted tumours were due to body's resistance to genetically different tissueBarrettJackson Memorial Laboratoroies
1941Genes shown to regulate biochemical events within cellsBeadle, TatumStanford University Medical School
1 Jan 1941Martin J Evans was born in Stroud, United KingdomEvansCardiff University
1942'Epigenetics' coined as a term to describe how genes interact with the environment to produce the physical traits of an organism WaddngtonCambridge University
27 Mar 1942John E Sulston born in Cambridge, United KingdomSulstonLaboratory of Molecular Biology
20 Oct 1942Christiane Nusslein-Volhard was born in Magdeburg, GermanyNusslein-VolhardMax-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology
1944Evelyn Witkin discovered radiation resistance in bactieraWitkinCold Spring Harbor Laboratory
6 Jun 1944Phillip A Sharp was born in Falmouth, Kentucky, USASharpMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Biogen, Alynylam Pharmaceuticals, Magen Biosciences
4 Dec 1945Thomas Hunt Morgan diedMorganColumbia University, California Institute of Technology
17 Jan 1946Clarence E McClung diedMcClungUniversity of Pennsylvania
24 Apr 1947Roger D Kornberg was born in St. Louis, MO, USAKornbergStanford University
8 May 1947H Robert Horvitz was born in Chicago IL, USAHorvitzLaboratory of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
8 Jun 1947Eric F Wieschaus was born in South Bend, Indiana, USAWieschaus European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Princeton University
1948 - 1950McClintock developed her theory of genetic transpositionMcClintockCold Spring Harbor Laboratory
March 1948Hotchkiss discovered the first naturally modifed DNA nucleotide, cytosine, in a chromatography of calf thymus DNAHotchkissRockefeller Institute
January 1950Esther Lederberg discovered the lambda phageEsther LederbergUniversity of Wisconsin
9 Jan 1950Alec Jeffreys was born in Oxford, United KingdomJeffreysUniversity of Leicester
10 May 1950Hattie E Alexander and Grace Leidy reported success using DNA to alter the hereditary characteristics of Hemophilus influenzaeAlexander, LeidyColumbia University
May 19515-methcytosine isolated in nucleic acids for the first timeWyatt 
9 Nov 1952Jack Szostak was born in London, United KingdomSzotakHarvard University
7 Mar 1954James Bryan Herrick diedHerrick Rush Medical College
31 Oct 1954Linus Pauling was awarded the Nobel PrizePaulingCalifornia Institute of Technology
2 Feb 1955Oswald T Avery diedAveryRockefeller University
1957First observation of messenger RNAAstrachan, VolkinOak Ridge National Laboratory
1957Conrad Waddington develops model of epigenetic landscape to show the process of cellular decision-making during biological developmentWaddngtonCambridge University
1961Normal cell population discovered to only be able to divide a limited number of times before it stopsHayflickWistar Institute
31 Mar 1961Experiments reveal a type of RNA (messenger RNA) transports genetic information from the nucleus to the protein-making machinery in a cellBrenner, Crick, Jacob 
15 Apr 1961Carol W Greider was born in San Diego CA, USAGreiderJohns Hopkins University
22 Apr 1961Genes linked to X-chromosome inactivation in female mice embyosLyonCambridge University
23 Jan 1962Concept of restriction and modification enzymes bornArber, DussoixUniversity of Geneva
18 Oct 1962Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine awarded for determining the structure of DNAWatson, Crick, WilkinsLaboratory of Molecular Biology
15 Apr 1967Hermann J Muller diedMullerIndiana University
July 1969Discovery of methylase, an enzyme, found to add protective methyl groups to DNAArber, LinnUniversity of Geneva
1975DNA methylation suggested as mechanism behind X-chomosome silencing in embryosRiggs, Sager, KitchenCity of Hope National Medical Center, Harvard University
1975DNA methylation proposed as important mechanism for the control of gene expression in higher organismsHoilliday, PughNational Institute for Medical Research
5 Nov 1975Edward L Tatum diedTatumStanford University, Yale University
31 May 1976Jacques Monod diedMonodPasteur Institute
20 Nov 1976Trofim Denisovich Lysenko diedLysenkoLenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences
1977First method developed for studying gene regulation in a higher organismMertz, Gurdon, De RobertisLaboratory of Molecular Biology
9 Mar 1981Max Delbruck diedDelbruckCalifornia Institute of Technology
July 1981First evidence provided to show that DNA methylation involved in silencing X-chromosomeCompere, PalmitterHoward Hughes Medical Institute
1982 - 1985Studies reveal azacitidine, a cytoxic agent developed by Upjohn, inhibits DNA methylation 
1982Azacitidine fails to win FDA approval for treatment of acute myelogenous leukaemia due to lack of controlled studies showing clinical benefit 
6 Jan 1983Widespread loss of DNA methylation found on cytosine-guanine (CpG) islands in tumour samplesFeinberg, VogelsteinJohns Hopkins University
10 Sep 1984First genetic fingerprint revealedJeffreysUniversity of Leicester
January 1985DNA methylation found to occur on specific DNA segments called CpG islandsBird, Taggart, Fromer, Miller, MacleodEdinburgh University, Kanematsu Laboratories, Columbia University
7 Mar 1985DNA fingerprinting principle laid out JeffreysUniversity of Leicester
17 May 19851st legal case resolved using DNA fingerprintingJeffreysUniversity of Leicester
20 Oct 1988Cloning of first mammalian enzyme (DNA methyltransferase, DNMT) that catalyses transfer of methyl group to DNA Bestor, Laudano, Mattaliano, IngramMassachusetts Institute of Technology
9 Jul 1989George Wells Beadle diedBeadleCalifornia Institute of Technology, Stanford University
September 1989DNA methylation suggested to inactivate tumour suppressor genesGreger, Passarge, Hopping, Messmer, HorsthemkeInstitute of Human Genetics
December 1990BRCA1, a single gene on chromosome 17, shown to be responsible for many breast and ovarian cancersKing, Lee, Newman, Morrow, Anderson, HueyUniversity of California Berkeley
6 Feb 1991Salvador E Luria diedLuriaMassachusetts Institute of Technology
1 Mar 1992Method devised to isolate methylated cytosine residues in individual DNA strands providing avenue to undertake DNA methylation genomic sequencing 
12 Jun 1992First transgenic mouse model created for studying link between DNA methylation and diseaseLi, Bestor, JaenischWhitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
2 Sep 1992Barbara McClintock diedMcClintockUniversity of Missouri
1 Oct 1992First experimental evidence showing links between diet and DNA methylation and its relationship with cancerZapisek, Cronin, Lyn-Cook, PoirierFDA, National Center for Toxicological Research
11 Feb 1993Robert W Holley diedHolleyCornell University
1 Nov 1993Severo Ochoa diedOchoaNew York University
9 Feb 1994Howard M Temin diedTeminUniversity of Wisconsin
19 Aug 1994Linus C Pauling diedPaulingCalifornia Institute of Technology
1995Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Eric Wieschaus and Edward B Lewis jointly awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for illuminating the genetic control of embryonic developmentNusslein-Volhard, Wieschaus, Lewis 
21 Apr 1995First evidence published to demonstrate reduced DNA methylation contributes to formation of tumoursLaird, Jackson-Grusby, Fazeli, Dickinson, Jung, Li, Weinberg, JaenischMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital
6 Jun 1996George D Snell diedSnellJackson Laboratory
9 Jun 1996Daniel Mazia diedMaziaUniversity of California Berkeley
29 Mar 1997Ruth Sager diedSagerRockefeller University
22 May 1997Alfred D Hershey diedHersheyCarnegie Institution of Washington
February 1998Double stranded RNA demonstrated to be potent mechanism for silencing genesFire, Mello, Xu, Montgomery, Kostas, Driver, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, University of Massachusetts Cancer Center
10 Apr 1999Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat diedFraenkel-Conrat University of California Berkeley
20 Jul 1999DNA methylation of CpG islands shown to be linked to colorectal cancerToyota, Ahuja, Ohe-Toyota, Herman, Baylin, IssaJohns Hopkins University
November 1999First evidence from mammals that epigenetic changes can be passed down generations Morgan, Sutherland, Martin, WhitelawUniversity of Sydney
4 Oct 2000Michael Smith diedSmithUniversity of British Columbia
2001Pharmion licenses azacitidine from Pharmacia and Upjohn to Pharmacia's azacityidine technology, patents and clinical data 
April 2002Identification of new enzyme for silencing certain genes, opening new avenues for cancer treatmentsRauscherWistar Institute
20 Aug 2002Link identified between genes responsible for neurofibromatosis, a common neurological disorder, and a protein thought to play role in Alzheimer's diseaseShiekhattarWistar Institute
2004FDA approved first DNA methylation inhibitor drug, azacitidine (Vidaza®), for treatment of rare bone marrow disorder 
21 Jul 2004Edward B Lewis diedLewisCalifornia Institute of Technology
28 Jul 2004Francis H C Crick diedCrickLaboratory of Molecular Biology
5 Oct 2004Maurice H F Wilkins diedWilkinsKing's College London
February 2005Enzyme Ubp10 demonstrated to protect the genome from potential destabilising molecular eventsBerger, EmreWistar Institute
2006FDA approved second DNA methylation inhibitior, decatabine (Dacogen) 
6 Oct 2006FDA approved first histone deacetylase inhibitor, Vorinostat (Zolinza), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma 
11 Nov 2006Esther Lederberg diedEsther LederbergWisconsin University
26 Oct 2007Arthur Kornberg diedKornbergStanford University
2008Structure of telomerase, an enzyme that conserves the ends of chomosomes, was decodedWistar Institute
2 Feb 2008Joshua Lederberg diedJoshua LederbergUniversity of Wisconsin
November 2009FDA approved second histone deactylase inhibitor, Romidepsin (Istodax), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma  
15 Jan 2010Marshall W Nirenberg diedNirenbergNational Institutes of Health
9 Nov 2011Har Gobind Khorana diedKhoranaUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3 Feb 2012Norton David Zinder diedZinderRockefeller University
19 Feb 2012Renato Dulbecco diedDulbeccoImperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratory
2012European approval of decatabine (Dacogen) for treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia 
10 Mar 2013Frank Ruddle died in New Haven, ConnecticutRuddleYale University
April 2015Chinese regulatory authorities approved Chidamide, a histone deactylase inhibitor, for peripheral T cell lymphoma 
27 Aug 2015Experiments with mice showed that azacytidine treatment enhanced the responsiveness of tumors to anti–CTLA-4 therapy 
13 Jun 2016Beverly Griffin diedGriffinImperial College
10 Jan 2017Oliver Smithies diedSmithiesUniversity of Washington, University of North Carolina
15 Nov 2017Rare mutation of gene called Serpine 1 discovered to protect against biological ageing processKhan, Shah, Klyachko, Baldridge, Eren, Place, Aviv, Puterman, Lloyd-Jones, Heiman, Miyata, Gupta, Shapiro, VaughanNorthwestern University, University of British Columbia, New Jersey Medical School, Tohoku University,
9 Mar 2018John E Sulson diedSulstonLaboratory of Molecular Biology, Sanger Institute

1 Oct 1744

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was born in Bazentin, Picardy, France

5 Apr 1804

Matthias J Schleiden was born

16 Feb 1822

Francis Galton was born in Birmingham, United Kingdom

20 Jul 1822

Gregor Johann Mendel was born in Hyncice, Czech Republic

18 Dec 1829

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck died

1842

First observation of chromosomes by Swiss botanist Karl von Nageli

21 Apr 1843

Walther Flemming was born in Schwerin, Germany

5 Mar 1846

Edouard van Beneden was born in Leuven, Belgian

21 Apr 1849

Oskar Hertwig was born in Friedberg, Germany

16 Sep 1853

Albrecht Kossel was born in Rostock, Mecklenburg (now Germany)

7 Jul 1861

Nettie Maria Stevens was born in Cavendish, Vermon, USA

11 Aug 1861

James Bryan Herrick was born in Oak Park, Illinois, USA

1864 - 1865

Nucleus shown to contain genetic substance

1865

Laws of inheritance established

1866

Theory that cell's nucleus contains genetic substance

25 Sep 1866

Thomas Hunt Morgan was born in Lexington KY, USA

5 Apr 1870

Clarence E McClung was born in Clayton, California, USA

1883

The term 'Eugenics' is coined by Francis Galton to denote the science of improving stock by judicious mating

6 Jan 1884

Gregor Johann Mendel died

1889

Richard Altmann, German pathologist, renames nuclein as nucleic acid

21 Dec 1890

Hermann J Muller was born in New York, USA

1898

A nucelotide called tuberculinic acid found to bind to the protein tuberculin. It is now regarded as the precursor to the discovery of DNA methylation

29 Sep 1898

Trofim D Lysenko as born in Karlivka, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire

28 Feb 1901

Linus C Pauling was born in Portland OR, USA

1902

Chromosomes linked with inheritance

1902 - 1908

Metabolic disease explained by genetic defects

16 Jun 1902

Barbara McClintock was born in Hartford CT, USA

22 Oct 1903

George Wells Beadle was born in Wahoo NE, USA

19 Dec 1903

George D Snell was born in Bradford MA, USA

4 Aug 1905

Walther Flemming died

24 Sep 1905

Severo Ochoa was born in Luarca, Spain

4 Sep 1906

Max Delbruck was born in Berlin, Germany

4 Dec 1908

Alfred D Hershey was born in Owosso, MI, USA

14 Dec 1909

Edward L Tatum was born in Boulder CO, USA

1910

Chromosomes linked with hereditary traits

28 Apr 1910

Edouard van Beneden died

29 Apr 1910

Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat was born

17 Jan 1911

Francis Galton died

4 May 1912

Nettie Maria Stevens died

13 Aug 1912

Salvador E Luria was born in Torino, Italy

18 Dec 1912

Daniel Mazia was born Scranton, PA, USA

22 Feb 1914

Renato Dulbecco was born in Catanzaro, Italy

8 Jun 1916

Francis H C Crick was born in Northampton, United Kingdom

15 Dec 1916

Maurice H F Wilkins was born in Pongaroa, New Zealand

7 Feb 1918

Ruth Sager was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

3 Mar 1918

Arthur Kornberg was born in Brooklyn NY, USA

20 May 1918

Edward B Lewis was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA

7 Jun 1920

Jacques Monod was born in Nancy, France

17 Jun 1920

Francois Jacob was born in Nancy, France

9 Mar 1921

Evelyn Witkin was born in New York City, USA

9 Jan 1922

Har Gobind Khorana was born in Raipur, India

28 Jan 1922

Robert W Holley was born in Urbana IL, USA

25 Oct 1922

Oskar Hertwig died

18 Dec 1922

Esther Lederberg was born in Bronx, New York, USA

23 May 1925

Joshua Lederberg was born in Montclair, NJ, USA

23 Jun 1925

Oliver Smithies was born in Halifax, United Kingdom

Nov 1925

T.B. Johnson and R.D. Coghill reported detecting a minor amount of methylated cytosine derivative as byproduct of hyrdrolysis of tuberculinic acid with sulfuric acid but other scientists struggled to replicate their results.

13 Jan 1927

Sydney Brenner was born in Germiston, South Africa

10 Apr 1927

Marshall W Nirenberg was born in New York NY, USA

5 Jul 1927

Albrecht Kossel died

6 Apr 1928

James D Watson was born in Chicago, IL, USA

7 Nov 1928

Norton D Zinder was born New York City, USA

1929

Jackson Memorial Laboratories established to develop inbred strains of mice to study the genetics of cancer and other diseases

19 Aug 1929

Frank Ruddle was born in West New York, New Jersey

Aug 1931

Barbara McClintock and Harriet Creighton, her graduate student, provided first experimental proof that genes are positioned on chromosomes

26 Apr 1932

Michael Smith was born in Blackpool, United Kingdom

10 Dec 1934

Howard M Temin was born in Philadelphia, PA, USA

7 May 1939

Sidney Altman was born in Montreal, Canada

30 Oct 1939

Leland H Hartwell was born in Los Angeles, CA, USA

1940

The first cogenic line of inbred mouse strains were developed, which helped determine the major histocompatibility complex, a set of genes that code for proteins found on the surfaces of cells which help the immune system recognise foreign substances.

1940

Inbred strains of mice bred at Jackson Memorial Laboratory showed that resistance to transplanted tumours were due to body's resistance to genetically different tissue

1941

Genes shown to regulate biochemical events within cells

1 Jan 1941

Martin J Evans was born in Stroud, United Kingdom

1942

'Epigenetics' coined as a term to describe how genes interact with the environment to produce the physical traits of an organism

27 Mar 1942

John E Sulston born in Cambridge, United Kingdom

20 Oct 1942

Christiane Nusslein-Volhard was born in Magdeburg, Germany

1944

Evelyn Witkin discovered radiation resistance in bactiera

6 Jun 1944

Phillip A Sharp was born in Falmouth, Kentucky, USA

6 Jun 1944

Thomas Hunt Morgan died

17 Jan 1946

Clarence E McClung died

24 Apr 1947

Roger D Kornberg was born in St. Louis, MO, USA

8 May 1947

H Robert Horvitz was born in Chicago IL, USA

8 Jun 1947

Eric F Wieschaus was born in South Bend, Indiana, USA

1948 - 1950

McClintock developed her theory of genetic transposition

Mar 1948

Hotchkiss discovered the first naturally modifed DNA nucleotide, cytosine, in a chromatography of calf thymus DNA

Jan 1950

Esther Lederberg discovered the lambda phage

9 Jan 1950

Alec Jeffreys was born in Oxford, United Kingdom

10 May 1950

Hattie E Alexander and Grace Leidy reported success using DNA to alter the hereditary characteristics of Hemophilus influenzae

May 1951

5-methcytosine isolated in nucleic acids for the first time

9 Nov 1952

Jack Szostak was born in London, United Kingdom

7 Mar 1954

James Bryan Herrick died

31 Oct 1954

Linus Pauling was awarded the Nobel Prize

2 Feb 1955

Oswald T Avery died

1957

First observation of messenger RNA

1957

Conrad Waddington develops model of epigenetic landscape to show the process of cellular decision-making during biological development

1961

Normal cell population discovered to only be able to divide a limited number of times before it stops

31 Mar 1961

Experiments reveal a type of RNA (messenger RNA) transports genetic information from the nucleus to the protein-making machinery in a cell

15 Apr 1961

Carol W Greider was born in San Diego CA, USA

22 Apr 1961

Genes linked to X-chromosome inactivation in female mice embyos

23 Jan 1962

Concept of restriction and modification enzymes born

18 Oct 1962

Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine awarded for determining the structure of DNA

15 Apr 1967

Hermann J Muller died

Jul 1969

Discovery of methylase, an enzyme, found to add protective methyl groups to DNA

1975

DNA methylation suggested as mechanism behind X-chomosome silencing in embryos

1975

DNA methylation proposed as important mechanism for the control of gene expression in higher organisms

5 Nov 1975

Edward L Tatum died

31 May 1976

Jacques Monod died

20 Nov 1976

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko died

1977

First method developed for studying gene regulation in a higher organism

9 Mar 1981

Max Delbruck died

Jul 1981

First evidence provided to show that DNA methylation involved in silencing X-chromosome

1982 - 1985

Studies reveal azacitidine, a cytoxic agent developed by Upjohn, inhibits DNA methylation

1982

Azacitidine fails to win FDA approval for treatment of acute myelogenous leukaemia due to lack of controlled studies showing clinical benefit

6 Jan 1983

Widespread loss of DNA methylation found on cytosine-guanine (CpG) islands in tumour samples

10 Sep 1984

First genetic fingerprint revealed

Jan 1985

DNA methylation found to occur on specific DNA segments called CpG islands

7 Mar 1985

DNA fingerprinting principle laid out

17 May 1985

1st legal case resolved using DNA fingerprinting

20 Oct 1988

Cloning of first mammalian enzyme (DNA methyltransferase, DNMT) that catalyses transfer of methyl group to DNA

9 Jul 1989

George Wells Beadle died

Sep 1989

DNA methylation suggested to inactivate tumour suppressor genes

Dec 1990

BRCA1, a single gene on chromosome 17, shown to be responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers

6 Feb 1991

Salvador E Luria died

1 Mar 1992

Method devised to isolate methylated cytosine residues in individual DNA strands providing avenue to undertake DNA methylation genomic sequencing

12 Jun 1992

First transgenic mouse model created for studying link between DNA methylation and disease

2 Sep 1992

Barbara McClintock died

1 Oct 1992

First experimental evidence showing links between diet and DNA methylation and its relationship with cancer

11 Feb 1993

Robert W Holley died

1 Nov 1993

Severo Ochoa died

9 Feb 1994

Howard M Temin died

19 Aug 1994

Linus C Pauling died

1995

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Eric Wieschaus and Edward B Lewis jointly awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for illuminating the genetic control of embryonic development

21 Apr 1995

First evidence published to demonstrate reduced DNA methylation contributes to formation of tumours

6 Jun 1996

George D Snell died

9 Jun 1996

Daniel Mazia died

29 Mar 1997

Ruth Sager died

22 May 1997

Alfred D Hershey died

Feb 1998

Double stranded RNA demonstrated to be potent mechanism for silencing genes

10 Apr 1999

Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat died

20 Jul 1999

DNA methylation of CpG islands shown to be linked to colorectal cancer

Nov 1999

First evidence from mammals that epigenetic changes can be passed down generations

4 Oct 2000

Michael Smith died

2001

Pharmion licenses azacitidine from Pharmacia and Upjohn to Pharmacia's azacityidine technology, patents and clinical data

Apr 2002

Identification of new enzyme for silencing certain genes, opening new avenues for cancer treatments

20 Aug 2002

Link identified between genes responsible for neurofibromatosis, a common neurological disorder, and a protein thought to play role in Alzheimer's disease

2004

FDA approved first DNA methylation inhibitor drug, azacitidine (Vidaza®), for treatment of rare bone marrow disorder

21 Jul 2004

Edward B Lewis died

28 Jul 2004

Francis H C Crick died

5 Oct 2004

Maurice H F Wilkins died

Feb 2005

Enzyme Ubp10 demonstrated to protect the genome from potential destabilising molecular events

2006

FDA approved second DNA methylation inhibitior, decatabine (Dacogen)

6 Oct 2006

FDA approved first histone deacetylase inhibitor, Vorinostat (Zolinza), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

11 Nov 2006

Esther Lederberg died

26 Oct 2007

Arthur Kornberg died

2008

Structure of telomerase, an enzyme that conserves the ends of chomosomes, was decoded

2 Feb 2008

Joshua Lederberg died

Nov 2009

FDA approved second histone deactylase inhibitor, Romidepsin (Istodax), for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma

15 Jan 2010

Marshall W Nirenberg died

9 Nov 2011

Har Gobind Khorana died

3 Feb 2012

Norton David Zinder died

19 Feb 2012

Renato Dulbecco died

2012

European approval of decatabine (Dacogen) for treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia

10 Mar 2013

Frank Ruddle died in New Haven, Connecticut

Apr 2015

Chinese regulatory authorities approved Chidamide, a histone deactylase inhibitor, for peripheral T cell lymphoma

27 Aug 2015

Experiments with mice showed that azacytidine treatment enhanced the responsiveness of tumors to anti–CTLA-4 therapy

13 Jun 2016

Beverly Griffin died

10 Jan 2017

Oliver Smithies died

15 Nov 2017

Rare mutation of gene called Serpine 1 discovered to protect against biological ageing process

9 Mar 2018

John E Sulson died